Open House Mel­bourne

Get a stick­y­beak in­side rarely ac­ces­si­ble spa­ces dur­ing this big an­nual re­veal.

Time Out (Melbourne) - - OPEN HOUSE MELBOURNE - By Cas­sidy Knowl­ton

MANY OF MEL­BOURNE’S bestkept se­crets are in spa­ces that are off-lim­its to the pub­lic. But once a year Mel­bur­ni­ans get to glimpse these spa­ces and learn their se­crets. That time is Open House Mel­bourne, which first came to Mel­bourne in 2008. Many build­ing tours are self-guided, but some re­quire a guide for safety or space rea­sons. The pro­gram is free but book­ings are es­sen­tial at quite a few, so make sure that you check the web­site. Open House Mel­bourne will be run­ning July 28-29, with 200 build­ings to visit. Here are a few of our favourites.

Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne (Per­form­ing Arts Col­lec­tion Store)

Mel­bourne’s per­form­ing arts hub of­fers back­stage tours ev­ery Sun­day, with ac­cess to the State Theatre, Fair­fax Stu­dio, Play­house and Hamer Hall. On the tour you can see cos­tumes, sets and props from cur­rent pro­duc­tions, visit the stars’ dress­ing rooms and even make your own stage de­but. But the truly rare, hid­den secret at Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne is the ex­ten­sive Per­form­ing Arts Col­lec­tion, and you can only see that dur­ing Open House Mel­bourne. The space is

deep in­side Hamer Hall, be­hind a secret door, and it houses more than 610,000 items of per­for­mance art his­tory: such trea­sures as Dame Nel­lie Melba’s cos­tume wardrobe, Kylie Minogue’s cos­tumes and red-car­pet looks, and Barry Humphries’ Dame Edna ar­chives. 100 St Kilda Rd, Mel­bourne 3004.

Tem­per­ance Hall

Built in 1863, Tem­per­ance Hall was the site of al­co­hol-free con­certs, dances and lec­tures. The build­ing was home to nu­mer­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions (the South Mel­bourne Football Club – now of course the Sydney Swans – was said to have been formed at a meet­ing at the hall in 1874) and is now home to Phillip Adams Bal­let­lab. The hall was lov­ingly re­stored, but not ren­o­vated – much of it is in its orig­i­nal con­di­tion, cracks, faded paint and all. You feel the his­tory of the space in ev­ery nook and cranny, from the beau­ti­ful main hall down­stairs to the chief rulers’ office and the grand stair­case. 199 Napier St, South Mel­bourne 3205.

St Vincent’s Hos­pi­tal Tun­nels

The 164-me­tre tunnel con­nect­ing St Vincent’s Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal and the Royal Eye and Ear Hos­pi­tal un­der Vic­to­ria Pa­rade was opened in 1983 and de­signed to make it eas­ier for pa­tients and staff to travel be­tween the hospi­tals. Light­ing is en­tirely on the sides, so pa­tients with eye dif­fi­cul­ties be­ing trans­ported on their backs won’t be both­ered by lights shin­ing in their faces. The tunnel is also used to trans­port pris­on­ers who are be­ing treated at St Vincent’s, and it fea­tured in the video clip for the Whit­lams’ song ‘Fall for You’. In ad­di­tion to the tunnel, St Vincent’s will be high­light­ing the 125th an­niver­sary of the hos­pi­tal with in­for­ma­tive his­tor­i­cal dis­plays and pho­tographs. 41 Vic­to­ria Pde, Fitzroy 3065. open House Mel­bourne open­house­mel­bourne.org/mel­bourne. Jul 28-29.

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